Bobby Kerr’s Clever Business Tips

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Business Agony Uncle, Bobby Kerr is back with his expert advice for SME employers and employees. This week Bobby looks at the importance of having an online presence in today’s digital age and how to make the move into the pub/restaurant game.
 
Getting Online – How Important is it?
First up this week is a self-employed carpenter from Dublin, who has asked Bobby about having an online presence, how to go about it, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a business website. He does not know of many carpenters personally who operate online, and is wondering if it is worth the effort.
 
Bobby’s Advice
First of all, having an online presence these days is absolutely crucial to any business. It is quite shocking to note that one-in-three small businesses in Ireland still do not have a functioning website, and even more shocking was discovering that 17% of SME’s have no online presence whatsoever. In today’s digital age, it cannot be stressed how important it is for businesses of all sizes and sectors to have some sort of digital presence, whether by having a website or a social media profile etc.
In Ireland, 90% of consumers would regard online as being their first port of call when it comes to shopping, or simply for finding out information about a product or service. The days of not being online have passed and it is almost considered unacceptable these days for businesses not to have a website.
This person may also be losing out on potential business to competitors. Websites are relatively inexpensive to develop and can be a great source of income as payments can be made and tracked securely online. It also adds value and credibility to the business. Although it may take one or two versions of the website to get it right, it’s advised that this person look into it as soon as possible, before they lose out further.
 
Getting into the Pub Game
Next up is a query from man who has been given an opportunity to go into business with his brothers to buy and run a well-known a pub in his local area of Westmeath. The pub has fallen on hard times in recent years but he believes that they have what it takes to get business booming again as the location is ideal. He is conscious that it is a good opportunity however is slightly reticent to enter the pub game due to the current uncertainty of the industry.
 
Bobby’s Advice
Firstly, this does seem like a genuinely good opportunity. He obviously knows his brothers well, and also knows the punters and the local community inside out. This is vital for running a business and knowing what customers want. There are a number of things that this person needs to give further thought to before committing to anything:
  1. What is the business plan – they need a concrete plan with his brothers and a vision of how the business is going to be run
  2. Market research – He needs to undertake market research and evaluate what competitor business is like in the area
  3. He needs to appeal to all types of customers – Food is a great way of distinguishing from competitors however they also need a USP to drive business and generate a buzz around the new pub/restaurant.
  4. They need to recognise that times have changed and customers seek more than just a dink in a nice bar these days. They are looking for an experience, particularly if they are planning on catering for the tourist market, this is crucial.
 
If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]

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